By Nicole Cheslock ·
Owner Johanna Lasseter-Curtis with a happy customer.
Johanna Lasseter-Curtis will tell you that her favorite cupcake at Cake Tahoe is the gluten-free vanilla bean made with Madagascar Vanilla and vanilla bean paste.
After sampling her way through San Francisco cupcake shops, she says that she knows that when there is a really good vanilla cupcake, chances are high that the others are also scrumptious. At her Truckee-based cupcake emporium, Cake Tahoe, the choices are vast.
“We do everything from scratch. That is what I taught in culinary school,” shares Lasseter-Curtis, who was a nutrition major and built her career on baking, inspired by both her grandmother who taught her how to bake and Martha Stewart before Stewart had a TV show.
High-altitude baking is notorious for dry results, but that doesn’t show bite for bite when you taste or, as your experience may be, devour the moist Cake Tahoe cupcakes.
Crossing the threshold from outside to inside on a windy day, I was first struck by the sweetness of the moment. You’ll know what I mean when you step through the doorway – it’s the smell of something delicious. Sweet. Comforting. Enveloping.
Colorful cupcakes line three levels of shelves and they are just the right size – not the giant, oversized variety of cupcake and a bit larger than the ones frequently made at home. Topped with smooth butter cream frosting, these cupcakes are baked on site every morning and daily standards, as well as daily specials, are available.
I sampled one of the specials. The flavorful carrot cake with coconut and a touch of pineapple topped with pecans and the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever tasted is the product of one of Lasseter-Curtis’ oldest family recipes handed down by her godmother. Lasseter-Curtis has been baking wedding cakes for nearly 20 years and, just like her lovely cupcakes, she wants them to be beautiful, but the most important thing is how they taste.
“I want people to try them and say, ‘It’s the best I’ve ever had,’ ” she says.
The setting is welcoming and whimsical – purple butterflies hang from the ceiling, polka dot curtains grace the back seating area, children have a view of all the cupcakes and easily turn the corner because in addition to cupcakes, Cake Tahoe offers ice cream from Gunther’s, a small batch creamery with Sacramento roots dating to 1940.
I’ll return for a vanilla, gluten-free cupcake and then perhaps one of the tempting Heath Bar, Cookies and Crème, Crème Brûlée or Red Velvet cupcakes, as well as a scoop of Gunther’s in one of Cake Tahoe’s homemade waffle cones.
Cake Tahoe is located at 9932 Donner Pass Road in historic downtown Truckee. Call (530) 587-1701 or visit caketahoe.com or facebook.com/caketahoe for more information.